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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Book - 2006
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A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

"A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don't know how to live properly." --Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years--due largely to initial audiences' rejection of its strong black female protagonist--Hurston's classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Publisher: New York :, Harper Perennial Modern Classics,, 2006
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial Modern Classics ed
ISBN: 9780060838676
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: xviii, 219, 16 pages ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

List - Frequently Challenged
ZarrowBooks Sep 28, 2020

Challenged for sexual explicitness, but retained on the Stonewall Jackson High School's academically advanced reading list in Brentsville, VA (1997). A parent objected to the novel's language and sexual explicitness.

October 2018

"This atmospheric story about expectations, marriage, and unexpected love is richly atmospheric, set in the deep South's Florida Everglades in the 1920s."

From the critics

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May 26, 2021

A classic feminist novel of tribulations, self-exploration, (self-) love, and empowerment. While the black vernacular and physical & verbal abuse may be off-putting for some, I believe that it defines the era and characters with honesty and sincerity. This book meant a great deal to me during my high school years. It was moving to see Janie's character evolve and make peace with herself and the events of her life. Highly recommend, for teens and adults!

Mar 24, 2021

Started out fantastic. Poetic. Beautifully written. Amazing anaolgies. But the black lingo of "dis" and "dem" got really tiring. The low level of sophistication got very tiring too. Why did she hate her grandmother who sacrificed herself to raise her? Why did she endure even one episode of physical abuse from her husband and why did the author not sketch that out more? In the end, I was as disappointed with the novel as I was excited about it in the beginning.

Feb 10, 2021

Modern Mrs Darcy

Jan 28, 2021

Highly overrated, in my opinion. Found the conversations written in the southern, black dialect hard to read compared to the poetic & descriptive prose. Story was not exactly exciting and was a bit depressing.

LPL_IanS Nov 05, 2020

As a young girl, Janie dreamed of love and happiness, but life rarely turns out how we plan. Full of betrayal, abuse, and tragedy but also beauty, romance, and humor, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a powerful and influential story of black female self discovery.

Oct 21, 2020

I listened to the audio version of this book with Ruby Dee reading/performing and both the story and Ruby Dee's performance are wonderful! At first I was not sure I could listen to the 'black speak' but after several minutes I was immersed in the story and found myself relating to the thoughts and feelings of many of the characters. I highly recommend this audio book!

Oct 04, 2020

I live on the land of Janie's FL but Hurston describes FL that I have never seen and people I have never met. This novel is overwhelming w/ feeling and descriptive words and phrases. It is written in a southern dialect but I found that it was essential to the story and the time. Janie starts out as a young girl whose Grandmother remembered slavery. This is a young black girl's coming of age novel in the south in the 1930-40s. Hurston's writing enables one to live in Janie's skin and really understand and feel the situations she encounters, her growth and eloquence when she is able to live life on her own terms.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Sep 22, 2020

So glad I went back and read this classic. Such a unique look at power dynamics re: gender and race during that point in time...and such lovely language and use of vernacular. Also: Ruby Dee reads the audio and is spectacular!

JCLMaggieS Sep 15, 2020

*Fangirling about Zora Neale-Hurston*

Aug 22, 2020

219 pages

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Apr 10, 2020

“She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.” (25)

Apr 10, 2020

“Because I hate the way his head is so long one way and so flat on the sides and that pound of fat back on his neck.”
“He never made his own head. You talk so silly.”
“I don’t care who made it, I don’t like the job.”

Apr 10, 2020

“Cause you told me I was going to love him, and, I don’t. Maybe if somebody was to tell me how, I could do it.” (23)

Dec 20, 2019

One of the best books ever

Dec 26, 2018

Two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves.

britprincess1ajax Dec 24, 2017

"Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore."


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Jun 12, 2020

jpedone21 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Apr 10, 2020

Lienhoatn thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

britprincess1ajax Dec 24, 2017

britprincess1ajax thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 21, 2014

ianwilliams_0 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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